National Industrial Court
By Linda Eroke
The National Industrial Court (NIC) has ordered the management of Gaskiya Textile Mill Kano, to immediately pay a total of N128, 394,220.33 as gratuity and outstanding union dues to about 500 disengaged workers and the National Union of Textile and Garment, Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN).
The court, presided over by Justice F. Kola-Olalere, upheld the earlier ruling of the Industrial Arbitration Panel (AIP) which in 2010 ruled against the management of the company for unilaterally shutting down the company in 2005 without paying the workers their entitlements.
The court, in its judgment, also awarded the cost of N30,000 against the management of the company.
Briefing journalists in Lagos, President of the textile workers union, Dele Hunsu, commended the sense of fairness of the NIC under the leadership of its President, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, in the union’s case with the management of Gaskiya.
He called on the apex industrial court, to ensure the enforcement of judgment with respect to the settlement of workers’ entitlement.
The union’s president further commended embattled workers for their continuous patience in spite of the untold hardship resulting from non-payment of their entitlements. “It is commendable that the NIC is regaining the confidence of the workers in the court. With this positive development workers may not be pushed to self help. We urge the NIC to ensure the enforcement of this commendable judgment immediately”, he added.
He explained that the textile company had unilaterally closed down operation in 2005 without settlement of the entitlements of the workers as well as outstanding union dues.
He added that “When all entreaties to management to settle her liabilities to the workers and the union failed, the union petitioned the then Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Hassan Lawal, who promptly referred the matter to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) in January 2008.”
Consequently, the IAP in March 2010 issued award in favour of the union compelling the management of Gaskiya Textile Kano to settlement the outstanding entitlements of the workers as well as the union dues.
Following the notice of objection of the IAP award by the management of Gaskiya Textile, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, in the exercise of the powers conferred on him, referred the matter to the NIC in June 2010 while hearing on the matter commenced in June 2011.